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Aug

5

2015

Back_to_the_future

 

Had I felt about the Civil War as I felt about “Back to the Future,” this was my visit to Fort Sumter, Gettysburg and the Appomattox Courthouse all at once. And it was the first time I realized that although we see movies as distant, expensive objects made the year before by people we will never know, they were often born in the same world that we pass through every day — they weren’t beamed to us from a far-off kingdom, but lived here, among us, in places that belonged to us, too. Their permanence could be on celluloid or server farm, in the culture at large and in our own memory, but also in concrete, soil and steel.

On the occasion of the great movie's 30th birthday, I look at the time I tried to find the real Hill Valley



Aug

5

2015

An actor playing a real-life criminal adds a loud asterisk, not so much for how we then imagine them as John Dillinger or Aileen Wuornos but how we’ll perceive them afterward. The choice to play not just evil but infamy on screen may only extend as far as that movie. But when you look at an actor’s filmography, his or her performance as the engine of a true-crime movie never stays quiet; it always says something about their body of work as a whole. 

What happens when we see a performer we recognize in the skin of an infamous person we recognize? The answer is never “It didn’t really matter.” The five outcomes we’ve seen and outlined below are how it did.

Sarah D. Bunting, a writer I admire very much, asked me to contribute to a true crime publication she edits called The Blotter. Given those conditions, how could I say no?

Above then is a piece of an essay I filed called "Criminal Career Moves" i.e. what happens to an actor's when they play a real life thug.

Here the whole bloody thing.  

 



Jun

22

2015

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In February of last year, I mentioned I'd started on a new book called Brat Pack America, about locations made famous by 80s teen movies (Shermer Illinois, the Galleria Mall, the Goondocks and so forth). I predicted that book would be out by this fall. In actuality, it will come out next summer. 

That does mean, however, that it's done. At least the initial draft. Written, sent, and being edited as we speak. I'll get it back soon and be revising and editing this summer. 

Much work left to be done but the hard part's over. And I couldn't be happier



Jun

22

2015

Goonies

 

It is estimated that 10,000 fans will arrive for “The Goonies’” 30th anniversary celebration this weekend, effectively doubling the population of Astoria. No one quite remembers how Donner and executive producer Steven Spielberg chose the town as the film’s primary location — one story involves a childhood friend of Spielberg’s, another Donner’s co-producer, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest — but “no one remembers when it wasn’t going to be filmed here either,” Derek Hoffman, current vice president of Donners Company, told me.

Astoria is only mentioned once or twice in “The Goonies” and lives on-screen for about 20 minutes of a movie that takes place almost entirely in underground caves re-created on sound stages. Knowing Astoria = the Goondocks and coming here (the town is two hours from the nearest major airport in Portland) represent a kind of super merit badge of fandom.

I wrote about The Goonies 30th Anniversary for Salon. The movie was shot on location in Astoria, Oregon, a former fishing village at the mouth of the Columbia River, in November of 1984.